Using Email Encryption to Create a Competitive Advantage


Thought Leadership

Using Email Encryption to Create a Competitive Advantage

Dena Bauckman

When companies think email encryption will make life difficult for customers and partners, they’re likely to view any solution as an obligation instead of an opportunity.

Perhaps they’ve used an email encryption solution in the past that makes reading messages difficult for users, or perhaps the solution itself required users to have a working knowledge of encryption or to jump through the hoops of a cumbersome interface.

The reality is that in order for an email encryption solution to be effective in making information more secure, it must not hamper or frustrate users. Security tools that frustrate users are commonly circumvented by well-meaning but deadline-driven employees, and this self-sabotage (even if it’s inadvertent) creates a huge vulnerability across any organization.

Adding Value to the Customer Experience

The 2017 Global Encryption Trends Study notes that only 41 percent of companies and 33 percent of government agencies were utilizing email encryption. Yet major data breaches are becoming increasingly common, in terms of both scale and scope, and email is a primary target.

In today’s world of large-scale data breaches, customers are more attuned to how companies handle their data, and they’re wary of the risks that inherently go along with sharing personal information. Given this shift in awareness and perspective, companies that view email encryption as just a compliance obligation are missing the opportunity to impress their customers and run the risk of losing them to a competitor that integrates email encryption into the customer experience. Organizations that create a seamless email encryption experience for customers and market this capability as a value add are the ones that will succeed in delighting their customers.

By embedding email encryption capabilities directly into an organization’s customer portal, companies can allow customers to gain access to encrypted messages using their existing customer credentials. The ability to read, reply, and compose new emails without having to choose between risk or simplicity will give customers greater security and highlight the value an organization has for their well-being.

Security to Meet Your Company and Customer Needs

Here is a quick overview of the most common email encryption methods used by Zix today:

  • S/MIME is a strong message-level encryption that Zix uses to transparently encrypt emails between customers. With this standard, messages can be encrypted automatically in transit and then decrypted automatically when they reach the receiving organization, creating an easy experience for sending and receiving messages.
  • TLS is used to encrypt traffic over the internet, including email. Similar to S/MIME encryption, TLS provides transparent encryption for the sender and recipient. While TLS can carry some security risks when not configured correctly, when implemented properly, this standard provides easy-to-use email encryption.
  • Secure portals are web applications that provide a way to deliver an encrypted email to anyone, on any device. More importantly, as a web application, it can be easily integrated into existing customer portals to create a seamless user experience. Secure portals make it easier to customize the user experience with Single Sign-On, inbox and address book, flexible branding, and email compose. Secure portals combine ease of use with security in a way that will delight customers.

Regardless which email encryption technique you choose, an email encryption solution that foregrounds both security and seamless integration with your customer experience is essential. With ZixEncrypt, you get a solution that makes email encryption easy to use and simple to implement, while providing strong protection for your sensitive communications.

With so much email traffic going in and out of your organization daily, don’t let strong security obstruct your ability to communicate freely with your customers.